Occupational & Physical Therapy
Over the years, we have seen several different physical therapists, with whom we have done very traditional forms of physical therapy. Most of the therapies were a part of recovery processes aimed at regaining my strength and balance after various surgeries, with some focus on strengthening my neck and core muscles in the hope of lessening my chronic daily headaches. We also had some success with cranial sacral therapy that was pretty gentle - it gave very temporary relief to the headaches, but I was discouraged that none of these things really changed my long term picture of health. That was until this year, when we went a different route.
In May of 2015, I began treatment with an occupational therapist, and we have taken an entirely different approach to my pain; one that I believe is really a revolutionary thought process for a hydrocephalus patient.
Instead of focusing on my hydro and my shunt as the sources of my pain, a different thought was brought to the table - that a lot of the chronic daily pain, sleep issues, and fatigue might actually come from the trauma caused to my central nervous system due to all of the repeated surgeries, and compensation that the brain is forced into, due to the hydro. At first I was very skeptical, because just like most patients, I have been hyper-focused on the shunt as the villain and the source of all of my issues, and I didn't believe that there could be ways that I could improve without a better solution for my hydrocephalus. But I was open to it, and we embarked on the crazy journey of trying to heal my nervous system. I'm not able to go into much detail here, because this is an ongoing process, but the therapy is a combination of cranial adjustments, trauma healing, and a modality of physical medicine called Postural Restoration, which focuses on the natural asymmetries of the human body, and the postural adaptations that can improve function. I've learned to breathe differently, and control my nervous system in ways that I had no idea was possible. It's been extremely hard, and often painful work, but it's been well worth the effort. In the past six months of this therapy, I have benefitted with lower pain levels, increased activity, and better sleep. In addition to the physical progress, I have had a huge shift in my mental approach to my condition - because I now know that there are so many things that I can do to help myself through different scenarios, including daily pain, shunt headaches, and even surgery.
I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to have this treatment, as it has changed my life forever.